Copyright � 2021 by Loudest Thoughts
No part of this work is to be copied or distributed without the prior written permission of the author.
CHAPTER 1 – SET IN THE PRESENT
The�weather outside Hell�s Gate was refreshing. The entire scene had been taken over by debris from the previous night�s storm.
She came out after the beep at the gate, clad in an exquisite all-ginger jumpsuit. Flying her arms in the air in a clockwise position, she smiled with her mouth open.
�Wow, it smells heavenly.� �Cheers to some freaking air!� Clasping her hands together, she laughed hysterically, and carefully placing one foot in front of the other, she found steady ground.
�I�m alright.� She murmured and looked back at the giant wall behind her.
The waves of fresh air brought her out of her thoughts. �How did I end up in the middle of nowhere?�
�T-a-ck.� She made a mental note and walked away, finding a tree to lean against while lighting up her cigarette.
�Jewel, are you up?� Elis called out with her piercing voice.
She waited for a second, then pushed herself against Jewel�s door. Unfortunately, it was locked from the inside.
She chuckled and knocked gently on the door.
Jewel heard her mom earlier but wasn�t ready for her long speech. She threw a pillow over her head when the third knock landed on the door. Elis was persistently knocking, which was irritating her daughter.
�Mom, that�s enough already; I�d be out in a minute.� She squirmed under her pillow.
�Good, because James is here.�
�James?� She yelled out to her mom.
�Yes, James, the boyfriend.� He�s been waiting all morning. Elis spoke softly, with her ears pressing against the door.
Jewel snorted and hit her head on her palms, then her alarm rang. She stretched her arms to the small clock on top of her bedpost to turn off the alarm when her eyes caught the note on the clock.
�Oh my God, Ginger.� She jumped off her bed and went straight to her wardrobe.
�Are you okay, baby?� Her worried mom asked when she heard her wail.
Jewel hurriedly took out her blouse from yesterday and sniffed it, then threw caution into the air. �This should do.� She took off her nightgown and slipped it on.
She dashed to the restroom, gagging on her mouthwash, then rushed to the door and picked up her sandals and bag she had left right by the entrance yesterday.
She threw the shoes inside her bag and pushed the door open. Her mom stumbled as she was still behind the door.
�Sorry, mom. �See you later.�
�Sorry, and that�s it?�
�Not now, mom.� �I have to go.� She turned around to face her mom, who was still holding on to her face.
Jewel ran her hand through her hair and left her mom still staring.
Elis followed her abruptly.
�Brunch is ready, and your boyfriend is still waiting.�
Jewel forced herself to face her mom again when she mentioned her boyfriend. She forgot he was still in the house.
James, who was behind the pillar dividing the hall, quietly peeped when he heard his name. He caught a glimpse of Elis and smiled.
�Mom, tell my boyfriend to call me next time he wants to visit.�
�Mom, save it.� �I�m late, and again, James should have called.� She turned around and bumped into him, but James grabbed her before she could fall.
�I was trying to warn you about that.� Her mom said that and left them both staring at each other.
�Emmm, babes, I�ve got to go.� She managed to say that instead of the usual affectionate greetings.
She slipped out of his grasp without another word and rushed to the door, leaving James speechless in the centre of the room.
�Jewel.� He thundered across the room. His forehead sunk in, and his eyes suddenly glowed.
She paused immediately and stared at him.
�You were saying?� She frowned.
�We need to talk.� He spoke rather calmly.
�And I need to be somewhere right about now.� �Do you have a problem with that?� She asked sarcastically.
He sighed. �No, see you later then.�
�Thank you, babes.� She rushed to hug him and intended to steal a kiss, but James held on to her face for a few minutes. They both seemed lost and didn�t want to let go.
Elis, who was seated at the brunch table, kept smiling and misguidedly dropped a spoon.
The two lovebirds paused and glanced at her. She mouthed �sorry� and turned away to the kitchen.
James, holding on to her waist, laughed. �Do you think we have time for more?� He winked.
�No, I must��
�Yes, you have to go.� He let go of her waist and scratched his forehead.
�When I get back, we�ll talk.� She muttered.
�The hundredth promise, but I�d be patient until you make time for us.� He sighed heavily.
�Thank you so much, James.� She happily gave him a quick peck and rushed off through the door before he could hold her back.
James instantly frowned and wiped the lipstick from his lips with the back of his palm. He walked to the curtains, pulled them aside, and watched as Jewel drove off and the security closed the gate. He then chuckled while scowling.
His mother-in-law came at that moment, and he looked back, forcing a smile on his face.
�I�m so sorry about earlier.� She apologised for Jewel�s behaviour.
�That�s fine, we�d work it out, but do you have any idea where she runs off to every Sunday morning?�
�My dear, I wish I knew.� �She�s been this way for the past four years.� She said it uncomfortably.
�What about pops?� He inquired further.
�He�s too busy to even notice.�
�I�m sure it�s nothing serious.� James encouraged her.
�I hope so,� Elis said, and she invited him over to the brunch table.
James forced another smile and walked over to her side.
Jewel drove at top speed, constantly ignoring the traffic lights.
She hit her brakes abruptly, smiled, rolled down her window, and then took off her shades.
She rushed out of the car after spotting Ginger at the entrance.
With her arms opened for an embrace, Ginger just looked on for a while and then brought out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. She took one out and lit it.
�You do know how to make an entrance in red,� Jewel muttered.
�You are late today,� Ginger said with a puff.
�I know and I�m so sorry,� Jewel said, rushing into her arms.
Ginger hesitated to put her arms around her, so Jewel let her go.
�You�d have to make it up to me then.� Ginger poked her nose.
�You got it. �Now let�s go home.�
�Home? Same home?�
�Yes, or where do you want to go?�
�A hotel or any place that isn�t home.� She threw the cigarette on the floor and lit another one. �You want one?�
�No, I don�t smoke, and it�s fine; we�ll get a hotel on our way from the restaurant.�
�Goodness, I�d get decent food!� Ginger yelled.
�I guess someone missed me.� Jewel smiled and made a mental note.
�In your dreams.� Ginger hit her gently.
�No arguments on that. �Let�s get going already.�
She dragged Ginger along to her car.
Ginger let go of her hand and turned back to the writing on the giant gate.
She shook her head and walked to the other side of the car.
�Are you okay?� Jewel asked.
�Not really, but I�d miss this prison I called home for the past twenty years.� She spoke while lost in thought.
�What�s that?� Ginger queried.
�I mean, you were only brought here after the mental institution and juvenile court didn�t work.�
�A year each in those centres was even worse than this place.� Ginger pushed her tears back.
�You know I�ve got you, right?�
�I�m not exactly sure, Jewel.�
She frowned. �What is that supposed to mean?�
She asked, and Ginger just kept staring at the two vans that passed by earlier.
�Who did you tell I was getting out today?�
�You haven�t answered my question, and y�..�
�I�m not going to ask again.� �Who else knew I�d get out today?� She yelled angrily.
�Calm down. You said to tell no one.�
�You little brat,� Ginger kept ranting while walking towards her.
�You called me a brat?�
�Get down,� Ginger yelled angrily.
�I said get d�..� Ginger was saying while rushing to Jewel�s end.
She jumped on her, pulling her to the ground.
Suddenly, the entire prison yard became chaotic.
Gunshots were making noise, bullets were flying around, and Ginger was still shielding Jewel with her body.